Page 14 - September 2017
P. 14

|  The End of the Line? |                        |  Richard Paterson  (9575)  |


         t must have been nearly 20 years    one of these handy little platens.’
         ago that I was told about a printing     Advertised at a princely £14 14s. 0d,
       Ipress that might be of interest to   the machine appears almost identical to
       me. It turned out to be a monster of a   mine except in one important respect
       thing, in poor condition, and located   – it is rather smaller. The inside chase
       in an outbuilding on a remote farm on   size is 9½ x 6¾ ins, whereas mine has
       the Lleyn Peninsula in North Wales.   an inside chase size of double that, at
       The owner was glad for me to take it   13½ x 9½ ins. My press certainly does
       although, despite it being a benchtop   not have the company’s details on the
       model, it required three of us to get it
       into the back of my car. My hope was,
       one day, to try to restore it and use it.
         Of course, time and life went by,
       and the press remained neglected.
       The restoration project remained a
       non-smoker’s pipe-dream, but I did
       make occasional and unsuccessful
       attempts at identifi cation, there being
       no name or maker’s mark of any kind
       on the machine. Then in 2008, from
       the particulars of a long-ended sale on
       a US auction house website, I found a
       photograph of an apparently identical
       press, but not named. This led me to
       suppose that the machine might be of
       American manufacture.
         Some years later I came by a
       catalogue of Printers’ Sundries &
       Machinery published by John Haddon           Richard’s Clipston Press
       & Co. and there, amongst a variety
       of platen presses, was a picture of a   main casting, as the catalogue model
       ‘“Clipston” Self-Inking Hand Press’. The   does, but I’m not sure that Haddon’s
       description reads thus:               manufactured their machines rather
         ‘Presses of this type are usually   than acting as agents for some other
       regarded as toys; but the ‘Clipston’   fi rms, as is clear from the catalogue, or
       Self-Inking Hand Printing Press is in a   buying in ‘badged up’ machines made
       different category. It is a soundly built,   by some anonymous manufacturer. But
       British-made tool capable of clean, bright   at least, if the blurb is to be believed,
       printing. It was supplied for army use   my press is British-made, and likely to
       during the Great War, and long before   date back to the early years of the 20th
       that time it found a good market both at   century or even earlier.
       home and abroad. Many a mission press     Otherwise, I have never seen or
       carries on with a ‘Clipston’, and there are   heard of a similar press, nor do I know
       several printers in this country, famous   of anyone else who owns one, and I
       for their fi ne printing, who started with   wouldn’t be surprised if mine is the
       210
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